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ABC's of Eviction and Demolition
1. What is eviction?
Eviction refers to the removal of a person and/or his belongings from a subject building/structure or area, in accordance with law (Section 3(g) of the Implementing Guidelines of Executive Order No. 152, Series of 2002).
2. What is demolition?
Demolition refers to the dismantling by the LGU (Local Government Unit), or any legally authorized agency of the government of all structures within the premises subject for clearing (Section 3(f) of the Implementing Guidelines of Executive Order No. 152, Series of 2002).
3. What is the Philippine policy on eviction and demolition?
Section 10, Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution dealing with Social Justice and Human Rights states that: Urban and rural poor dwellers shall not be evicted nor their dwellings demolished, except in accordance with law and in just and humane manner.
4. What law governs eviction and demolition?
The Urban Development and Housing Act or UDHA (RA 7279), particularly Section 28, primarily sets the rules on eviction and demolition. In addition, various Executive Orders (e.g. E.O. 152, series of 2002), along with their Implementing Guidelines, Rules or Regulations, and Circulars (e.g. OCA Circular No. 72-2003) have been issued to further meet the objectives of the UDHA (RA 7279).
5. Are EO 152 and its proposed IRR valid issuances in relation to UDHA, LGC and devolution?
Yes. Their validity springs from the President’s supervisory power over LGUs to ensure that laws are faithfully executed, as well as from the doctrine of qualified political agency. Under EO 152, the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) is designated as the “sole clearing house” for evictions and demolitions. Given that LGUs are the primary implementers of the UDHA (RA 7279), when EO 152 designates the PCUP as the “sole clearing house” for the conduct of eviction and demolition, it merely bolsters the PCUP’s task as a supervisor or of making sure that the rules are followed.
6. What is the rule of the UDHA (RA 7279) on eviction and demolition?
Section 28 of the UDHA (RA 7279) states that: Eviction or demolition as a practice shall be discouraged.
7. Are there Exceptions?
Yes. Eviction and demolition may be allowed in the following instances:
- When the eviction or demolition is to be implemented in danger areas;
- When the eviction or demolition is to be implemented in public places;
- When the eviction or demolition has to be undertaken for the implementation of government infrastructure projects;
- When there is court order (Section 28, UDHA);
- When what is sought to be evicted or demolished are illegal structures constructed after March 28, 1992 (Section 30, UDHA); and
- When what is sought to be evicted or demolished are structures owned by a professional squatter and squatting syndicate (Section 27, UDHA).
8. What are the types of eviction and demolition?
Under the Implementing Guidelines of Executive Order No. 152, Series of 2002, the following are the types of eviction and demolition:
a) Court-ordered Eviction and Demolition
It is eviction and demolition by virtue of a writ issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.
b) Extra-judicial Eviction and Demolition.
It is eviction and demolition without the need of a court order and pertains to the underprivileged and homeless citizens and their dwellings occupying:
1) danger areas;
2) public places; and
3) government infrastructure projects with available funding (Section 3(a)).
c) Summary Eviction and Demolition
It is the immediate removal and the dismantling by the LGUs or authorized government agency of structures of:
1) professional squatters;
2) members of squatting syndicate; and
3) new illegal structures (Section 3(p)).
d) Voluntary Eviction and Dismantling / Demolition.
It is the act of willingly vacating subject premises and the dismantling / demolishing or allowing the dismantling or demolition of one’s structure.
9. What are the requisites in order that there would be a valid eviction and demolition?
Section 28 of the UDHA (RA 7279) lays down the mandatory requirements for the valid execution of eviction and demolition orders involving underprivileged and homeless citizens. These are:
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a) NOTICE should be given thirty (30) days prior to demolition;
b) Adequate CONSULTATION with the settlers of the affected area;
c) Adequate RELOCATION; whether temporary or permanent;
d) Members of the Philippine National POLICE must be properly uniformed;
e) Proper IDENTIFICATION of all persons taking part in the demolition;
f) Heavy EQUIPMENT should not be used except for permanent structures;
g) Local government officials or their REPRESENTATIVES must be present; and
h) Execution must be done only during regular OFFICE hours from Mondays to Fridays.
10. Is there an instance where the requisites for demolition need not be complied with?
Yes. In the case of structures built by professional squatters, there may be summary demolition.
11. Who are considered as underprivileged and homeless citizens?
Underprivileged and homeless citizens refer to the beneficiaries of the UDHA (RA 7279) and to individuals or families residing in urban and urbanized areas:
(a) whose income or combined household income falls within the poverty threshold as defined by National Economic Development Authority (NEDA); and
(b) who do not own housing facilities.
12. Who are considered professional squatters?
Professional squatters are those individuals or groups who:
a) occupy lands without the express consent of the landowner and who have sufficient income for legitimate housing;
b) have previously been awarded homelots or housing units by the Government but who sold, leased or transferred the same to settle illegally in the same place or in another urban area; and
c) non-bonafide occupants and intruders of lands reserved for socialized housing (Section 3(n), Implementing Guidelines of E.O. 152 – 2002).
13. What is a squatting syndicate?
A squatting syndicate is a group of persons engaged in the business of squatter housing for profit or gain (Section 3[q], Implementing Guidelines of E.O. 152 – 2002). The purpose of this group is contrary to law and said group is declared illegal.
14. Are court-ordered demolitions covered by UDHA?
Yes. Section 28 of the UDHA (RA 7279) expressly refers to court ordered demolitions as one of the four instances that are exempted from the enunciated “no demolition and eviction policy”.
Moreover, since all evictions of the underprivileged and homeless beneficiaries of the law and the demolitions of their homes pursuant to other laws must apply the procedure outlined by Section 28, the execution of court orders for eviction and demolition issued after the successful litigation of forcible entry, unlawful detainer, accion publiciana, and accion reivindicatoria cases must comply with the UDHA (RA 7279) when such cases particularly involve the urban poor.
15. What, then, is the ideal flow of court-ordered eviction or demolition?
A court-ordered eviction or demolition must comply with the following:
First, once the case has already reached finality, the court is duty bound to send notice to the:
(a) Local Government Unit (LGU) and / or National Housing Authority (NHA) of the finality of the decision for eviction and demolition to enable the LGU and / or NHA to provide relocation within forty-five (45) days from receipt of notice or financial assistance in the event that no relocation is provided (Section 28, UDHA); and
(b) Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) five (5) days prior to its intended implementation (OCA Circular No. 72-2003).
Second, immediately after the receipt of the notice, and within the forty-five (45) day period, the LGU and / or NHA are duty-bound to conduct the following:
(a) Provide a thirty (30) day notice to the evictees;
(b) Conduct adequate consultation; and
(c) Provide for relocation or financial assistance.
Third, with the provision of relocation or the financial assistance at the lapse of the forty-five (45) day period, the court upon motion or motu proprio will issue the writ of execution and demolition. Said writ should contain specific instructions addressed to the sheriff to comply with the other remaining requirements of Section 28 of UDHA (RA7279) which constitute the just and humane manner of eviction and demolition (police presence, LGU representative, identification for demolition crew, no use of heavy equipment, and demolition during 8am-3pm during weekdays and in good weather).
16. What are the powers and functions of the PCUP being designated as the sole clearing house for the conduct of demolition and eviction activities involving the homeless and underprivileged citizens?
In pursuit of its mandate under E.O. 152, the PCUP shall exercise, among others, the following powers and functions:
a) Monitor all evictions and demolitions, whether extrajudicial or court-ordered;
b) Prior to actual eviction or demolition, require the concerned departments and agencies, including the LGUs, to secure the checklist, guidelines and compliance certificates from the PCUP;
c) After the eviction or demolition, the concerned departments and agencies shall submit to the PCUP the completed checklist, attested to under oath by the proponent and indicating that:
1) adequate consultations with the affected families had already been undertaken;
2) adequate resettlement sites and relocation facilities are available; and
3) pre-relocation requirements under the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the UDHA (RA 7279) have been complied with.
d) Issue demolition and eviction compliance certificates based on completed checklist;
e) Investigate motu proprio or upon complaint by any party, any violation of the provisions of Section 28 of the UDHA (RA 7279) or its IRR;
f) File motu proprio, or by way of assistance to any aggrieved party, the appropriate criminal, civil or administrative case against any person or persons found to have violated Section 28 of UDHA (RA 7279) or its IRR;
g) Recommend to the President any appropriate measures for the implementation and enforcement of Section 28 of UDHA (RA 7279) or its IRR;
h) Request any government agency for assistance and necessary information in the discharge of their functions;
i) Publicize matters covered by its investigation of violations of the provisions of Section 28 of UDHA (RA 7279) and its IRR;
j) Administer oaths, issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum, and take the testimonies of witnesses in the course of its investigation;
k) Adopt its own operational guidelines and rules of procedures (Section 1).
17. What is a certificate of compliance?
A certificate of compliance is issued by the PCUP prior to the conduct of the eviction or demolition showing that the necessary requirements needed by the proponent have been complied with.
18. Are LGUs and government agencies exempted from complying with EO 152 and its Implementing Guidelines?
No. LGUs and Government Agencies are not exempted. EO 152 is a valid exercise of President’s supervisory power over LGUs, as well as over government agencies, to ensure that laws are faithfully executed. Therefore, even if some LGUs have their own clearing houses, the PCUP via EO 152 acts as a safety valve to ensure uniformity in enforcement so that LGUs with local clearing houses follow the strict standards set by sec.28 of UDHA (RA 7279). Such uniform enforcement of sec. 28 of the UDHA (RA 7279) is ensured by the compliance certificate requirement.
19. Are summary demolitions subject to compliance certificates under EO 152 and its Implementing Guidelines?
Yes. Whether the demolition is summary or court-ordered, it is nonetheless covered by EO 152’s monitoring provisions. EO 152 and its Implementing Guidelines seek to include summary demolitions in the coverage as far as procuring compliance certificates is concerned. The obvious intention is to provide protection to the occupants of New Illegal Structures for they are potential beneficiaries of the UDHA, being underprivileged and homeless. Furthermore, this inclusion of summary demolitions can be viewed as still under PCUP’s “broad monitoring coverage” when it comes to the conduct of evictions and demolitions.
20. Are court-ordered demolitions subject to compliance certificates under EO 152 and its Implementing Guidelines?
No. EO 152 and its Implementing Guidelines expressly exclude court-ordered demolitions from the requirement of procuring a compliance certificate. However, the actual conduct of demolition is still under PCUP’s broad monitoring coverage.
21. What is the role of the LGU in cases of evictions or demolitions?
The LGU concerned and the NHA, with the assistance of other government agencies shall:
a) Within forty-five (45) days from the service of notice of final judgment by the court, undertake the relocation of the affected families;
b) Provide financial assistance, should relocation not be possible, in the amount equivalent to the prevailing minimum daily wage multiplied by sixty (60) days to the affected families (Section 28, UDHA (RA 7279)).
22. Can the LGU or NHA dispense with the mandate of providing adequate relocation by extending financial assistance to affected families?
No. Adequate relocation is mandatory in all cases as this is a constitutional directive. The dispensability of adequate relocation, in cases where financial assistance is provided to affected families when relocation is not possible after the lapse of forty-five (45) days, is merely temporary. The acceptance of the financial assistance will not constitute as a waiver on the part of affected families to demand their right to have socialized housing.
23. Can the LGUs summarily demolish structures and evict structure owners on private lands under the UDHA (RA7279) ?
No. The power of the LGUs to effect summary demolition is confined to public places and danger areas as specifically provided by law. Such power cannot extend to private properties. Evictions and demolitions on private properties must be done by virtue of a court order.
24. Can the LGUs do the same under different laws?
No. Although the Civil Code provisions on Nuisance, the Building Code (PD 1096), the Local Government Code of 1991 (Sections 444 and 455, RA 7160) and other demolition statutes or directives (LOI 19, PD 292, etc.) all pertain to demolition of certain illegal structures, these laws have been repealed or modified by Section 28 of the UDHA (RA 7279), a later law specifically referring to demolition of underprivileged and homeless citizens.
25. Can the LGUs or other government proponents summarily demolish new settlers (after 1992) on public land/areas who settled therein after being evicted from private property by court order while are nonetheless UDHA (RA 7279) beneficiaries prior to their eviction?
No. The power to demolish does not extend to UDHA (RA 7279) beneficiaries evicted from private lands by court order. While the LGUs or other government proponents can demolish new settlers on public areas after the effectivity of UDHA under Section 30, they cannot exercise this power when the persons to be evicted or whose structures are to be demolished are new settlers (after 1992) on public land /areas who settled therein after being evicted by court order from private property but are nonetheless UDHA beneficiaries and who have occupied said private lands prior to March 28, 1992.
26. When is police assistance allowed in cases of eviction or demolition?
The concerned departments and agencies of the government, the LGUs, or other proponents of eviction and demolition activities shall be provided authorized police assistance only upon their prior compliance with the requirements under the UDHA (RA 7279) and its IRR as well as the checklist and compliance certificate requirements under E.O. 152.
Police assistance shall be allowed only under the following circumstances:
a) In pursuance of any court order specifying police action or assistance;
b) In any case or event where voluntary eviction and dismantling of structures has been agreed upon in writing by the parties concerned and approved by the PCUP;
c) In cases of local infrastructure projects approved by the PCUP;
d) In cases of national infrastructure projects approved by the PCUP;
e) In any other case of eviction or demolition where police assistance shall be necessary to preserve peace and order, provided it is approved by the PCUP.
27. Does the court order need to specify police assistance in its order?
No. A written request by the sheriff for police assistance in the execution of the order or writ shall suffice. The authorized police officer shall, however, notify the PCUP in writing of the grant of police assistance and the date of eviction and demolition at least three (3) days prior to the actual conduct of the same.
28. What is the extent of police assistance in the event of eviction and demolition?
Police assistance shall be limited to peace-keeping and law enforcement and shall, in no way, mean participation in actual eviction or demolition. The members of the PNP tapped to provide assistance should be in proper uniform and, in appropriate cases, should carry with them the necessary documents supporting the provision of police action or assistance.
29. What are the remedies available to the urban poor families subject of demolition in cases where the person seeking eviction and demolition does not comply with the requisites?
There are several remedies, to wit:
a) If the demolition is only about to be implemented, the urban poor families can file an Injunction or Prohibition before the courts;
b) If the demolition has already been implemented, they can file a case for damages, in which case, they can pray the courts to award them actual, moral and exemplary damages;
c) They can also file a criminal case against those persons responsible for the unlawful demolition under Section 45 of the UDHA (RA 7279).
30. What are the liabilities, if any, of person or persons who violate the laws on eviction and demolition?
Section 45 of the UDHA (RA 7279) states that any person who violates any provision of the UDHA (RA 7279) shall be imposed the penalty of not more than six (6) years of imprisonment or a fine of not less than five thousand (5,000) pesos but not more than ten thousand (10,000) pesos or both.
Also, under Section 7 of E.O. 152, any official of the PCUP who shall cause the endorsement of a demolition or eviction activity without a completed checklist, or if such checklist is submitted but the veracity of which has not been certified, or any of the officers of members of the PNP who shall take part in or provide assistance to demolition or eviction activities without prior authorization from the PCUP, such shall likewise be meted proper disciplinary action, without prejudice to other criminal and civil actions.
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